David Whish-Wilson reviews 'City of Crows' by Chris Womersley

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'City of Crows' by Chris Womersley

City of Crows

by Chris Womersley

Picador, $32.99 pb, 374 pp, 9781760551100

Every Chris Womersley novel represents a significant departure from the last. Following his award-winning and magnificently dark début, The Low Road (2007), and his Miles Franklin shortlisted Bereft (2010), and Cairo (2013), City of Crows is his first novel set entirely outside Australia. An acutely crafted historical fiction, it is set in France in 1673 during the reign of Louis XIV.

The title refers to a common period name for Paris, although the novel begins outside the city. This movement from the countryside to the metropolis reflects the early structure of the narrative, but also differences in the way that witchcraft was performed between city and country, particularly by the novel’s two protagonists: the peasant Charlotte Picot and the opportunist magician Monsieur Lesage.

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Published in October 2017, no. 395
David Whish-Wilson

David Whish-Wilson

David Whish-Wilson is the author of five crime novels and three non-fiction books. His latest crime novel is The Coves, out with Fremantle Press in 2018. His next novel is True West, to be published by Fremantle Press in November 2019. He lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, and coordinates the creative-writing program at Curtin University.

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